Here’s a little known secret about Whistler: while it’s renowned for being an epic ski and bike mecca, it wasn’t the mountains that brought the first settlers (aka developers) to our incredible resort: it was the fish.
That’s right. Fish. Not snow, fish. Whistler might not even exist if it weren’t for Alex and Myrtle Philip who, with the help of the Tapleys, built the Rainbow Fishing Lodge Resort in 1914.
So while many of us charge hard to bag summits or chase downhill runs, there’s a whole lesser known but equally passionate group of Whistlerites who chase a different type of rush: the tug.
Whistler is surrounded by three lakes brimming with fish and those who confess that the “tug is the drug” will reluctantly share that now that the ice has melted, fishing season is officially on.
The best part about fishing is it’s something everyone can enjoy, including the munchkins. Locals who grow up in Whistler have many a fond memory of packing a picnic and casting a line with mom and dad while the sun floats high in the sky and the good times roll.
So where should you go and what should you bring? With the heavy runoff creating a veritable thunderstorm in the rivers, you’ll want to stick to the lakes until July. Around here, fly fishing is what we do, mostly because the trout love bugs.
And before you cast anything, make sure you’ve checked the fishing regulations, and have your fishing license.
You can’t miss the bright green lake north of Whistler. Three major creeks feed into the lake and are great spots to catch Rainbow Trout and Dolly Varden Char: 19 Mile Creek, Fitzsimmons Creek, and the River of Golden Dreams. Occasionally you can fine Kokanee and some Cutthroat Trout
An easy lake to access from many of the Whistler neighbourhoods, Alta Lake holds a robust number of Rainbow Trout and Cutthroat Trout that can be found along the shoreline
Steps off the Valley Trail and of course, Nita Lake Lodge, is Whistler’s smallest fishing lake, yet it teams with Rainbow Trout thanks to an annual stocking of some five hundred to a thousand fish around Father’s Day. One of the best spots is where Whistler Creek comes into the lake, though success can be found in boats as well.
Of course, if you’re new to it all and a nymph is more of a woodland creature to you than a fly you’ll want to hire a guide. Trout Country Fishing Guides and Whistler Fishing Guides will show you the ropes – or rather, lines – and take you to their secret spots that we couldn’t share here. They’ll also provide the gear so if you don’t want to bring it to Whistler with you – or have forgotten it, hiring a guide is a great way to feel that first tug.
And from there, you’ll be hooked.